DAVE GOODERHAM: Town needs its independent shops

A personal view
A personal view

“Shoes should be on prescription. A good hair-do and a good pair of shoes can really lift a woman’s spirit.”

I am sure most women would testify to the comments made to this newspaper little short of a year ago.

For me, shoe shops are somewhere to rest my legs on a shopping expedition, somewhere I can check the football scores or Twitter on my iPhone or just another place where I have to keep a very close eye on my, err, excitable 21-month-old.

That said, in my younger days, I would think nothing of spending £100+ on football boots so I can empathise – a little – when Mrs G looks at a pair of shoes, while hiding the price tag.

While I can’t tell my Jimmy Choo’s from my Scholl’s, one thing I am acutely aware of is the importance of independent stores in enhancing the vitality of any town centre. There is always a place for larger department stores and national names, but a town can soon become soulless without their independent counterparts.

So the news that Scarlet Shoes in Bury’s Traverse closed on Saturday was met with a heavy heart by all sides of the Gooderham household.

Bury is blessed with a happy mix of nice shops, good food and great places to visit. But it is not immune to the economic conditions. We might be hearing that things are softening, that shoppers are fighting back. But it remains a fight.

Much has been made of the scaffolding outside the Cupola. This must hinder trade and the news that it could remain for many more months is a worry.

Parking issues, an effect from the arc and changing shopping habits have probably all added to the problem.

Bury is fortunate to have Mark Cordell and Ourburystedmunds as custodians of businesses in the town centre and I know Mark will be working hard to ensure Scarlet’s situation is a rarity rather than a norm.

I wish everyone connected with Scarlet all the very best for the future. They were obviously very passionate about their business – and shoes – as the above quote from Kate Palliser, Scarlet’s owner, suggests.

They will be missed – and not just by my wife.